BGSU Celebrates May Commencement

The University celebrated its 279th graduation in four ceremonies May 9-10.

Of the total 2,260 diplomas awarded on the Bowling Green campus, 393 degrees were granted through the Graduate College, including 315 master’s degrees and 22 doctoral degrees. Among the undergraduate candidates, 121 received associate degrees, and 551 graduated with honors.

The youngest graduate was 18 and the oldest was 79. There were 92 international students, representing 27 countries.

Commencement exercises for the Graduate College and the colleges of Health and Human Services; Musical Arts; and Technology, featured entrepreneur Laurence Benz as the speaker. Benz who earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from BGSU in 1984 and is the founder and President/CEO of PT Development LLC, a private-equity fund with holdings in physical therapy, health-care consulting, education, occupational medicine, medical trustee and receivership, pharmacy, and information technology. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in private practice physical therapy, education, and marketing.

At ceremonies for the College of Arts and Sciences and BGSU Firelands, the University presented an honorary degree to commencement speaker Brenda Hollis, a 1968 graduate who, after two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa, earned a law degree from the University of Denver and served for more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 1998 with the rank of colonel. Hollis then joined the International Criminal Tribunal, serving as expert counsel and eventually lead prosecutor in historic cases, from the prosecution of dictators Charles Taylor of Liberia to Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. In February the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed her prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Jacien Steele, a 1977 graduate, gave the address at commencement ceremonies for the colleges of Business Administration and Education and Human Development. He is a senior lead tax partner in Deloitte’s Business Tax Services Group and the leader of the Deloitte Tax Executive Transition Lab program. He previously served as the U.S. regional leader for the Global Strategic Clients program, coordinating and facilitating client service with other geographic regions of the world for the tax practice. He has more than 35 years of experience serving large public companies in the manufacturing, service and consumer business sectors. He is a member of the CFO Program Leadership Team and is on the faculty of the Deloitte Next Generation CFO Academy.

BGSU Firelands held ceremonies in the Cedar Point Center. Sandusky attorney Dennis Murray Jr. addressed the candidates. A partner in Murray and Murray Co. LPA, he specializes in commercial litigation, legal malpractice, antitrust, securities and investor fraud. He served as a Sandusky County Commissioner from 2005-08 and again in 2014. He also served as ex officio mayor in 2008 and 2014. Murray was elected to two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives for the 80th District, where he served from 2009-12.